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Panthers clutch second road win at Clemson

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Brenna Wise (50) brought in 9 points before fouling out in Sunday's game.  Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

Brenna Wise (50) brought in 9 points before fouling out in Sunday's game. Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

Brenna Wise (50) brought in 9 points before fouling out in Sunday's game. Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

By Logan Hitchcock / Staff Writer

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A week after securing its first conference win on the road, the Pitt women’s basketball team doubled its out-of-state success Sunday in South Carolina.

Pitt (10-12, 2-7 ACC) scrapped out a tough win against the Clemson Tigers (4-17, 0-8 ACC) 59-56 in Clemson, South Carolina. Pitt brought out a tough defense in the first half, cinching its second conference victory this season.

The Panthers got on the board in the second minute when sophomore point guard Aysia Bugg knocked down a jumper for the team’s first points of the game. The basket jump-started the Pitt offense, propelling it on a 17-8 run that spanned the final 8:43 of the first quarter. During that run, the Panthers defense severely hampered the Tigers’ offense, holding it to just 4-17 from the field in the first quarter.

Freshman Kalista Walters spearheaded Pitt’s first quarter offense in her new role off the bench. She chipped in three of her five points from the charity stripe.

Foul trouble riddled the Panthers in the second quarter as Walters, Brenna Wise and Yacine Diop all spent additional time on the bench after picking up their second fouls. In that time, Clemson climbed its way back into the game, erasing a nine-point Pitt lead when sophomore Nelly Perry’s layup knotted the game at 18.

After a pair of Clemson free throws, Pitt regained control with junior guard Fred Potvin’s second triple of the game. Potvin, who recently moved into the starting lineup, has been a consistent deep threat for the Panthers — she led Pitt with five threes  in Sunday’s game.

Senior forward Diop added a jumper to extend the Pitt lead, but brief runs from both teams marked the final six minutes of play in the second quarter.

Pitt was up 23-20 beginning the quarter when the Tigers used three consecutive layups and a pair of free throws to take a five-point lead. A six-point Pitt run ending with a Diop jumper countered Clemson’s lead and put the Panthers ahead by one — but not for long.

Clemson finished the quarter making three of its last four shots and took a six-point lead into halftime.

The Tigers, bouncing back from Pitt’s tough defense in the first, shot 9-13 from the field in the second quarter, outscoring Pitt 23-12.

In the second half, Pitt began pulling at the Tigers’ 10-point lead.

Sophomore Stasha Carey, coming back from a scoreless game last week, connected on a 3-point jumper and started a 15-4 Panther run that spanned the rest of the third quarter.

A pair of free throws and back-to-back baskets by Potvin followed Carey’s three and tied the game at 39. The Panthers met a Clemson layup with a pair of free throws and another Carey triple, putting them ahead by one.

Pitt quickly extended its lead in the fourth quarter, as Potvin connected twice more from behind the arc. She offset a Clemson three and gave Pitt a four-point lead minutes into the quarter.

From there, the game began unwinding as Pitt fought off a Clemson comeback.

Down by four, Clemson rattled off six straight points, and after a Carey 3-point play gave Pitt a brief lead, the Tigers snatched it right back.

Trailing by three with just more than a minute remaining, the Panthers broke a nearly four-minute scoring drought when Wise knocked down a pair of free throws. On the next possession, Wise added another free throw following a steal, tying the game at 56.

Guard Brittany Gordon forced another Clemson turnover after Wise’s free throw, and Pitt called a timeout with 26 seconds left. Back in the game, Pitt got the ball inside to Carey, who gave Pitt the lead with a layup with 16 seconds remaining.

Clemson’s attempt to tie the game or take the lead on the next possession failed, forcing the Tigers to foul. Wise made one of two free throws at the line, and Clemson couldn’t force overtime in the final seconds.

Potvin led the Pitt scoreboard — all 15 of her points were from beyond the 3-point arc. Stasha Carey added a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Panthers will play next 7 p.m. Thursday when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-11, 2-7 ACC) make their way to the Petersen Events Center.

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Panthers clutch second road win at Clemson